65,000 FLEE CHRISTCHURCH AFTER DEADLY QUAKE

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Uncertainty as city loses a sixth of population

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, March 7, 2011) – Officials in New Zealand estimate 65,000 people have fled Christchurch since a deadly earthquake nearly two weeks ago.

City officials estimate one-sixth of the population have left New Zealand's second biggest city since the shallow 6.3 magnitude quake left homes creaking, wiped out buildings and jobs and killed at least 166 people.

[PIR editor’s note: According to the Australian Associated Press, Christchurch before the exodus had a population of 390,000. ]

But it's not known how many of those who have left may some day return.

Mayor Bob Parker says it could be months before parts of the city reopen, creating uncertainty for the central business district's 52,000 workers.

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